Councillor Patricia McAllister
Councillor Patricia McAllister

Queen’s Park Councillor Patricia McAllister, Deputy Leader of the Labour Group, argued that we must identify and support children at risk of off rolling or expulsion, at the Council meeting on 30th April 2019:

“The child who needs love and support the most will often ask for love and support in the most unloving ways.

I saw this so very clearly when a family came to surgery about their son’s expulsion from school.  The child was truculent, sullen, rude and his behaviour difficult. 

It was painful to witness the distress this situation was causing the family who clearly cared about their 15 year old son.

We read a lot about teachers leaving the profession school budgets targets but very little about the devastation for families when a child is expelled.   

The disruption and of course the fear for parents is overwhelming.

There are children transferring to secondary schools with a reading age of 7 or 8 years of age as a result of their needs are not being met in primary school because of funding issues.

Many parents struggle to get help for their children which are frequently denied because the threshold for early help has become so high that children are not receiving the help they need unless they have severe special needs. 

We know that if a child does not receive help in the early years the more expensive that help will be in later years.

There are strategies which can be used in the classroom for the child who struggles:

  • One to one with a teaching assistant
  • Psychological and mental health support.
  • Teaching in smaller groups
  • Psychological and mental health support.

All of these need to be put into practice at an early stage otherwise there will be children who struggle and we will deny them the education help and support they need.

Permanent expulsions have risen by over 50% – what we don’t know is how many children have been off rolled because there are no figures. 

Basically children are off rolled because they may threaten the school’s position in the league table because of their forecast exam results and they are encouraged to move to a different school or move before the dreaded expulsion is on record.

We must identify and support children at risk of off rolling or expulsion.  I wonder how much time is actually spent talking to these troubled young people and trying to prevent the off rolling or expulsion

There will be children who find mainstream schools difficult especially those who have been denied the help they need but if we do not provide the right and appropriate support there will be more disruptive behaviour and more expulsions and more youth crime.

The Home Office recently published a report about the link between expulsions and off rolling being a “Leading Driver” of gang violence and youth crime.

I met with police officers last week who told me they have no doubts about the connection between children not attending main stream education and knife, youth crime, gang activity and county lines. These children are often aged between 14-17 years.  A very difficult and troubling time in the life of a young person

The saddest part of this scandal for me is fact that if you’re poor have special needs and from a certain ethnic background you are more than 7 times likely to be off rolled or excluded. These children are often facing poverty, bullying, and family breakdown, domestic abuse and addiction problems in their family life.  We must do everything possible for these vulnerable children to give them a chance in life which does not include gangs, knives and crime.

The biggest barrier to the prevention of exclusions and off rolling is funding for the extra resources to support children and prevent them from being excluded.  In particular the early intervention funding which is vital. There are questions about off rolling and exclusions which need to be asked and answered immediately.”

Link to Instagram Link to Twitter Link to YouTube Link to Facebook Link to LinkedIn Link to Snapchat Close Fax Website Location Phone Email Calendar Building Search